CANADIANS WHO STANDOUT – BENJAMIN HOWELLS (28/150)
I grew up in a quaint rural village nestled in the Alberta foothills, called Cremona, population about 400. Some would call it a dead-end town, but it was a great place to have a childhood. Life was simple, quiet, and safe. However, there wasn’t very much to do in town and with the nearest major city being an hour car ride away, I spent most of my time in my house playing music and writing songs.
You see, I had started studying music when I was seven years old to pass the time. The peace and quiet and lack of distractions that came with living in the middle of nowhere allowed me to develop my creativity from a very young age. I started with piano and then picked up the guitar when I was ten. I spent thousands of hours in my room playing, writing, and occasionally venturing into public for a small performances within the community.
I continued exploring and developing my art through my adolescence, until I graduated and settled in Lethbridge, Alberta. There, I studied music.
Living in a larger town took some adjusting, but after meeting some great musicians and forming a few different musical groups, I really began to develop my skills as a performer.
Unfortunately after 2.5 years of study, I had to quit due to an inability to pay for the remainder of my tuition. At this point I was $30,000.00 in student loan debt, even with the almost $10,000.00 worth of scholarships I had received. This was extremely hard for me after how long and hard I had worked to get there, but I didn’t let it discourage me. I kept my head up and continued to develop myself as a musician, this time learning how to record and produce myself.
Over the last year and a half since then, I have been writing and recording my debut solo EP, and just recently finished and released it on SoundCloud, with a music video being released next month! My EP will even be available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora radio, and all other major music distributors as of this month!
It’s been only a month since my EP has been released and I have since been featured on several Indie Musician blogs, as well as shot and recorded a live performance video. It’s beyond rewarding to finally have a product to show for my years of practice and study.
I recently had the pleasure of going to Los Angeles and visiting my dream school, The Musicians Institute, as well as meeting with a three-time Grammy winning studio engineer and touring his studio.
My efforts are now aimed at performing and promoting my music so that I may raise the money needed to attend The Musicians Institute and in turn develop the skills and relationships necessary to have a lasting career in music, providing the best art I am capable of.
If my story could bring even one person the inspiration needed to pursue their passion and follow their dreams, then all my efforts will be worth it regardless of how far I get.
We have 122 SHOUT OUTS left, if you would like to share your story! This is to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday, so we want to do 150 shout outs on ordinary Canadians that have accomplished extraordinary things or have an extraordinary story. Your photo and shout out will be published with the other 149 Canadians in the July issue! Email us! firstname.lastname@example.org or click HERE for our submission page.